Follow Global Life Sciences Portfolio Manager Andy Acker and Research Analyst Dan Lyons as they visit biotechnology companies pursuing innovative platforms in which to provide new therapies for major diseases such as cancer.
- Innovation in cancer therapy is paving the way for customised solutions for individual patients.
- Investors in the healthcare sector need a strong understanding of the science underpinning new innovations. The Global Life Sciences Team have a range of scientific backgrounds which enhances their ability to identify attractive opportunities in the sector.
- Fundamental research, including site visits and statistical analysis of potential outcomes, are among tools that benefit active managers in the healthcare sector.
Andy Acker: We’re in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the hotbed of biotechnology.
Dan Lyons: We are looking for companies that are pursuing innovative platforms and research to bring new therapies to patients with major unmet medical needs.
Andy Acker: As an analyst, we think it’s always extremely important to go and visit companies at their home base. We want to see what the environment is like, what the culture is like. We want to meet with people beyond just the CEO and the CFO. We want to meet the Head of Clinical Development. We want to meet the Head of Operations. We want to tour their labs.
Dan Lyons: As analysts at Janus Henderson, we are given virtually unlimited resources. Typically, I’ll do two to three trips a month doing research.
One of the companies that I found to be the most exciting over the past six months is a company working in the cancer field. Their idea is essentially to take out any given patient’s tumour and sequence it to understand what might be different about it, what makes it unique to that one individual. Then they come up with 20 unique things about every given tumour and create a vaccine that your body will start reacting to. The vaccine retrains your body to ‘fight’ the cancer and hopefully kill it eventually.
We went into the manufacturing suite and saw where they make the product, so they made us wear gowns and the whole thing, which was amazing. We saw them carry out the process of making cancer vaccines for individual patients.
Andy Acker: It’s really important to have a highly experienced team, and our team has over 100 years of experience evaluating health care companies. It is also important to understand the science, which is why many of the members of our team have scientific backgrounds including two Ph.D.’s in organic chemistry and immunology.
Dan Lyons: I think we get a lot of respect from companies, particularly in the biotech technology space.
Andy Acker: What is amazing to see today is the progress in the field and the potential to actually have a huge impact on the way medicine is practiced.